I was reading with amusement an article by Adam Penenberg, July 1, Fast Company about Dr Love - Paul Zak, about social networking and generosity.
"In a series of studies spanning nine years, Zak has changed our understanding of human beings as economic animals. Oxytocin is the key (and please, do not confuse the cuddle drug with the painkiller oxycontin). Known for years as the hormone forging the unshakable bond between mothers and their babies, oxytocin is now, thanks largely to Zak, recognized as the human stimulant of empathy, generosity, trust, and more. It is, Zak says, the "social glue" that adheres families, communities, and societies, and as such, acts as an "economic lubricant" that enables us to engage in all sorts of transactions."
"Do our brains react to tweeting just as they do to our physical engagement with people we trust and enjoy?"Zak's study has several implications in organizations and learning. One that interests me the most is trust and generosity in the context of social networking and social learning. I hear many learners donate hundreds of hours to build and support social learning. In groups like #lrnchat the give and take and exchanges reach points where a common bond of trust is established among participants. Some say, many have commercial reasons for spending time in Twitter. There is probably some truth to that, but it goes beyond. It is the great feeling we get when we help others and be generous without consideration of return.
We see a tremendous opportunities for "lateral learning", learning from each other rather than from a designated teacher. This environment requires trust and continuous generosity.
With Zak's studies, no wonder trust and generosity are not artificial acts, but rather a natural human act. So the next time someone tells you you are addicted to Twitter and Facebook, or YouTube, give a gentle smile. They just confirmed your generous heart.
See Zak's video.
Ray Jimenez, PhD3Minute Worlds - Learning Community Social Learning, Work and Performance3Minute eLearning Games"Helping Learners Learn Their Way"